Welcome to "For the Record," Violinist.com's weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!
Across the Stars
Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
John Williams, composer and conductor
The Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles
Two great artists unite: At the request of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, award-winning film composer John Williams has created arrangements for solo violin and orchestra of some of his best and most popular movie themes. The album includes 12 arrangements, featuring music from the Star Wars series such as "Luke and Leia," "Yoda's Theme," "Across the Stars" and "Rey's Theme"; as well as "Hedwig's Theme" from Harry Potter; and music from Schindler's List, Memoirs of a Geisha, Dracula, Cinderella Liberty and more. "There is only one John Williams," Mutter said. "What he writes is just extraordinary. Every time I go to one of his films and there is a violin or cello, I think, I would like to play that! And now I have his wonderful translations of all these iconic themes." BELOW: Listen to this! Quite an arrangement "Hedwig's Theme" from Harry Potter, and Mutter lays down those demonic licks that Williams included in the orchestra part.
Brahms Violin Sonatas; Clara Schumann Three Romances, Op. 22
Alina Ibragimova, violin
Cédric Tiberghien, piano
This album includes all three of Johannes Brahms Sonatas for Violin and Piano, as well as Clara Schumann's "Three Romances," compositions which Schumann played with Joseph Joachim during her lifetime. BELOW: Highlights from Brahms Sonatas:
Terry Riley, composer
Terry Riley turns 85 on June 24, 2020, and this is part of the Kronos Quartet's celebration. "Sun Rings" was a 2002 collaboration between the quartet and composer, which began with a call from NASA to Kronos Quartet’s manager. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Voyager 1 space probe’s launch was coming, and the agency wondered if Kronos would be able to use the "space sounds" that Voyager 1 and 2, as well as other spacecraft, had sent back to Earth in its performances. A meeting was quickly arranged between Kronos’ artistic director, founder, and violinist David Harrington and University of Iowa physics professor Don Gurnett, who had developed the plasma wave instruments that had received these sounds. After listening to Gurnett’s collection of favorite "space sounds," Harrington said, "I instantly knew Terry should be the composer to bring them into our work." BELOW: The Kronos Quartet performs "Beebopterismo," from Terry Riley's "Sun Rings."
Unis Vers: Le violon de Stéphane Grappelli
Mathias Lévy, violin
Jean-Philippe Viret, double bass
Sébastien Giniaux, guitar and cello
Classically trained jazz violinist Mathias Lévy performs original compositions on the 1909 Pierre Jean Henri Hel violin once played by French jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli, accompanied by bassist Jean-Philippe Viret and cellist Sébastien Giniaux. "By working on my arrangements of Grappelli’s music, we landed on the group’s particular sound," Lévy said. "We deliberated together, we addressed many questions about our intentions, and we acquired genuine trust in each other." The music is inspired by an eclectic mix of sources. "I have the utopian idea of creating music that emerges all by itself, outside of any categorization," Lévy said. Liner notes contain a short history of Grappelli's violin. BELOW: Mathias Levy performs "Nuage en solo" on the violin once played by Stephane Grappelli, on loan from the Philharmonie de Paris's Museum of Music.
Felix & Fanny Mendelssohn: Works for Cello and Piano
Johannes Moser, cello
Alasdair Beatson, piano
German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser and Irish pianist Alasdair Beatson present a moving portrait of the Mendelssohn family with this recording of pieces by the siblings Felix and Fanny. Once composed for the popular Sunday Sessions at the Berlin Mendelssohn family house, these works fit into the typically nineteenth-century tradition of domestic music-making, albeit at the highest thinkable level. Beatson plays an 1837 Erard fortepiano, identical to the instrument that belonged to the Mendelssohn household when these pieces were composed. BELOW: Johannes Moser talks about this recording, with musical excerpts.
If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.
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What I cannot help thinking is, why doesn't Mutter write her own arrangements? OK she is a free person and I am sure she has her reasons. What I am just meaning, why do not more top violinists develop their own pieces? In the past (let's say in the 19th century, early 20th), this was standard. So what has changed? It is not an attach, just a sincere question: what has changed? Perhaps life has simply become more busy, like it indeed has become for all of us?
I think John Williams May be a slighter better composer for violin and orchestra then Anne Sophie mutter.
Secondly, she is requesting versions from the actual composer, of very well-known theme tunes, to be just tailored for her instrument. Hedwig's Theme, etc. When she plays them, they will be recogizable as tunes already attached to these characters. Not so sure how her different and new composition of a tune, calling it Hedwig's Theme, would be meaningful in the same way. These tunes are already associated with strongly defined characters that the movie goers know. It will give them bringing a happy little jolt of recognition.
Collaboration is one of the most beautiful things about being a musician, and this one seems to have been a very successful one.
Sure, this individual case was not my point as I tried to be clear about. My general question is why was it no problem for top violinists to compose their own pieces in the 19th century, but in the 21th century, this seems not doable?
Scroll down a bit and you will find an album of all original pieces by Mathias Lévy!
How many of the 19th century's top violinists actually composed? Not that many, I think. And of the compositions written in the 19th century, how many still have any life in them? When's the last time you heard someone play Lipinski or Godard?
I also wonder if people like Sarasate had the same repertoire and scheduling demands on them that Hilary Hahn (for example) has. Does a player like Hahn have the time to compose? On the other hand, Augustin Hadelich studied composition, and has written some pretty good cadenzas.
All Sarasate played was likely his own music and maybe some of the things written for him (Saint Saens comes to mind). Paganini exclusively played Paganini. It’s like how some pop singers will compose their own music however most of them pay songwriters to do it for them. It’s likely a time thing but also being a good violinist does not make you a good composer.
Re: Anne - Sophie Mutter & 'Hedwig's Theme' from Harry Potter Collaboration with John Williams
Dear People ~
As a Violin Soloist, knowing how extraordinarily demanding it is to stylistically & technically be 100% in sync with our great Composer Genius' Masterworks for the Violin, I must express the thought that Some Concert Artists do possess composition Gifts to create Cadenza's and/or short pieces, with the mention of Fritz Kreisler, one of violin history's Greatest Violinists, who consistently composed more pieces & exceptional Cadenza's for the Grand Violin Concerti, namely to the Brahms & Ludwig van Beethoven Violin Concerto's, plus a too long to list rather exceptional litany of now standard violin recital repertoire little pieces plus other pieces for Violin & Orchestra, to Start!!!! It is true that less than More Violinist Virtuoso's defer composing than those who can and do, but please know that occasionally, when super inspired & in extraordinary environments, some of us do have a sudden flash or hearing in one's head 'vision' of a piece or (in my own case) a Cadenza which is fully formed & running about in one's head, as a broken record which won't stop playing!! (And, my personal experience is to jot it down on whatever paper available!)
When spending most of one's life (every day of every year & for 50 or more years) practising, a sense of humbleness or humility, enters the thoughts & heart/soul of any concertising artist, (who by then is a Concert Touring Veteran), of just how remarkable our Great Composer Heroes & Heroine's are and were!!!! Mr. Kreisler, possibly the greatest musician on the Violin, composed vast amounts of compositions yet titled them by made-up names, i.e., Pugnani, etc., until at aged 60, those
musician friends closest to 'Fritzi' (including both my legendary mentor's, Jascha Heifetz & Nathan Milstein) did insist & coax Fritz Kreisler to publicly reveal all delightful in-depth musical compositions for Violin, were composed by himself!!! This was a Headline in the New York Times, and a revelation, folks, to a few very stuffy Music Critic's, some of whom refused to believe him until proven 1000% Wrong!!!
The point is that Fritz Kreisler, also a marvellous pianist, had great compositional gifts + smarts to compose within his own Viennese roots musical charmed style, which all violinists the world over recognise at once as a Fritz Kreisler piece!!!! They have become classic standard concert recital violin repertoire, so much so, that we don't even stop to think that Mr. Kreisler passed on January 31, 1962 ~
From my view, Anne-Sophie Mutter has created a wondrous thing for vast audiences in bringing her idea to John Williams, the fabled composer of too many to list here great Movie scores, and asking John Williams to Tailor-Make some movie score themes for her as a renowned violin soloist & recording them Now!! With classical music striving to survive as it must do with Live Human Performers, amid the waning spans of concentration by younger generation/s, this project might be a Classical Music energy boost 'drink' & its education to young people in desperate need of such! With YouTuber's making noise (music?) with digital computers, The Core World of Live Classical Music Performance & Recording, has need of some classic 'Glamour' to invigorate young prospective audiences!!! Bravo's to the Great German Violinist, Anne - Sophie Mutter!!!
Not sure there is space left here, I'll simply say a Cadenza for the 2nd segueing into 3rd Movement of the Beethoven Violin Concerto appeared in my head whilst living in London, when readying for Concert Tours, and as it was fully clear, I found some Lieu Paper (British made, mind you!) and scribbled the Cadenza on this linked together paper in pencil! For the next
day 'tutorial' with my great mentor, Nathan Milstein, I tucked this lieu paper inside the violin case, after playing it to see how it sounded (not bad?) & after a lengthy session on the glorious Tenth Sonata of Beethoven for Piano & Violin, w/ Mr. Milstein, (ready for a High Tea Break), I found the courage to tell NM, I had 'sort of composed something which kept playing in my head', thinking he would laugh me out of our High Tea to go
back to my Flat in Wimbledon! Suddenly, Milstein insisted we wait until I played my 'piece' for him! (OMG, I thought! Now I'm really in trouble!!) Playing it through, & nearly flawlessly close
to my idea, he astonished me, saying: "You must publicly play
this Cadenza the next time you perform Beethoven's Violin Concerto, dear Elisabeth!! Promise me you will do this! It is more than good!" One could've knocked me over with feathers
I was so surprised & moved! (If memory recalls, I may have even asked Mr. Milstein, if he was kidding?) but after a lovely
English High Tea w/ Mrs. Milstein, he reiterated his Order that
I promise to play my Cadenza segue between the 2nd & 3rd Movements of Beethoven's Violin Concerto! When back in the U.S., yet concert touring in Poland, I included it with several performances of the Beethoven w/Poland's respected Ignace Pederewski Philharmonie, which was well received & reviewed in a major newspaper either in Poznan or Wroclaw ... It was a 'Sign' that Nathan Milstein was serious!!!
Later, my cherished & beloved musician-father teacher (ASTA Nat'l President; USC Prof of String Education; noted 'Father of the Youth Orchestra Movement' in North America & Europe + quiet author of what is known as 'El Sistema'; under Contract as arranger/composer to Paramount Motion Picture Studios in Hollywood, & Composer of great Orchestral w/Choral works, 1 premiered at The Hollywood Bowl, which was a collaborative effort between Dad & President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, set to Ralph Matesky's music of President Roosevelt's Historic Radio Address to the Nation duringWWII), invited me to perform Beethoven's Violin Concerto w/ himself on the Podium in what would turn out to be Poppa's Last Live Concert, conducting the Violin Concerto he had lifetime loved w/his violinist daughter as soloist, debuting her Violin Cadenza following the Kreisler Cadenza in the First Movement ...
Thankfully, the last Musical collaboration of father & daughter in Beethoven's Violin Concerto, was recorded, Live ~
After much verbiage, let us praise Anne-Sophie Mutter for her regal artistry & ingenious idea in requesting to record John Williams' tailor-made for A.S. Mutter Solo Violin w/Orchestra in 'Hedwig's Theme' by Composer, John Williams, for world-wide younger Harry Potter fans or better stated, potential audiences allured by those in classical music performance & mentoring ~
Over Labor Day submitted by ~
*https://youtu.be/M54U-P-Vs9g (JH Masterclasses, EM, Aram
Khachaturian, JH-7) Russian ver. Library Master Performers
A Word ~ Alina Ibragimova
Re: Brahms Sonatas for Violin & Piano + Three Romances
Although unable to hear much of Hyperion's recording 'Promo', I heard enough to capture my interest and curiosity about this (photograph) hunched over her violin artist, Alina Ibragimova ~ Her smooth sound and loving opening in the 'Rain Sonata' of Brahms' G Major Sonata #1, seemed lovely & considerate. I did feel a lack of subtle breathlessness, which is so gloriously composed into the peaceful opening movement with what - on first hearing (twice) seems almost too legato or minus the very subtle Uhh's & Ahh's that we attempted in our Brahms Violin & Piano Sonata Concerts where I reside & travel to ... It is truly most challenging to enter smoothly yet gently insert the (for true lack of better words) question mark lifts in the Brahms G Major first movement!
Violinist, Alina Ibragimova, I wish hearing in her full recording! Btw, her Pianist is most sensitive in the more than subtle Third Movement Theme of the d minor, no. 3 Violin/Piano Sonata of Johannes Brahms ...
Wishing this Brahms Duo Team well ~
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August 30, 2019 at 11:40 AM · Loved the John Williams/Anne-Sophie Mutter collaboration. I was able to use this as an example in a discussion about composing personal life-themes - musical mottos for a life - rather than just verbal/text. What a wonderful idea for Mutter to request this.